House in Hampstead, London, MArch thesis project, 1999.
Programme: Bus station, private dwelling, terrace, garden with pond and waterfall, exhibition space, swimming pool.
Tutors: Yael Reisner, Peter Cook.
The project, fully developed in a 2D CAD software package, addresses the nature of organic architecture in CAAD. Rather than scripting ‘pure’ organic forms by simulating growth, the proposal constructs a convoluted field of digital tectonics, vegetation, and interactable entities. The digital spline as only design element follows logical and structural thoughts of the designer, considering inhabitation, function and presence of the building. The proposal employs experimental technological and structural solution, yet the focus is on the design of an entirely digital proposal not based on the common aesthetic of NURBS surfaces, abstract scapes, or parametric skins.
Situated next to the London park Hampstead Heath, the house basks relaxed in its own garden, enjoying the admiration of passers-by. All over the site, an artificial meadow – a water-filled rubber mattress, which keeps memory of the way people walk on it – tells the people that they stand on private property. The boundaries between the inside and the outside of the building are in fact blurred by soft walls, inflatable doors, vegetation and waterfalls, and a series of footpaths.
In the garden, a floating swimming pool, like a humongous flower, grows out of the pond and blossoms regularly, changing its shape depending on the season. Water can be pumped through its double-layered skin in order to calibrate the pool’s shape: from open in the summer to enclosed in the winter. An artificial forest of ice, allows the architect to exhibit his work, but keeps people away. Cypresses, often planted close to private villas in northern Italy, grow out of highly light-reflecting, earth-filled fabric bags, which act as columns for the translucent roof.